On Saturday, September 3 comic book creator Bob Frantz will be in Corbin to meet fans and sign copies of the debut issue of his all-new, all-ages series from Action Lab Comics – Monty the Dinosaur. The “Creator Spotlight” event will take place at Max Toys and Comics, located on Main Street, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. that day.
“I’m kind of nervous,” Frantz said in a phone interview. “But I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Frantz is originally from Virginia Beach, VA, but he currently resides in Cincinnati along with his wife, and their two children – Sophie, 6, and Bobby, 3. When asked to speak on his background in comics, he said, “I have always been a comic book fan. I started reading them around the time that Tim Burton’s Batman movie was released (1989). I used to cut grass every summer to make money so that I could buy more books.”
Frantz said that as he grew into his teenage years his interests shifted more from comics to film. He decided that he wanted to give writing screenplays a try, so a few years later, after he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Virginia Commonwealth University, he began applying to various film schools.
It was during this time that Frantz was approached by a childhood friend who was working in radio. This friend proposed to Frantz that he also give working in that medium a shot, and that was the beginning of what ended up being a ten-year career on the airwaves.
Frantz said that it was during his time in radio that he really began to get back into comic books. That renewed interest led to another conversation with a friend that would once again change his life forever.
“A local musician friend of mine asked me if I had any of my own comic book ideas,” Frantz recalled. “I told him that I did, actually, and he and I began writing our own comics. I’ve always had those creative juices to write films, do a radio show and then later on transition into comic books.”
It was here that Frantz pointed out jokingly, “Comics are much easier to produce than films.”
As for Frantz’s creation of Monty the Dinosaur, that came later, after he had become a father. “My children and I visited a dinosaur exhibit at a local museum,” he explained. “After we left, my daughter asked me to tell her a story about a dinosaur. I actually came up with the idea of Monty while we were riding in the car.”
“I read my daughter stories every night before bed,” Frantz continued. “Sometimes I’ll just make up new Monty stories on the spot, and all the good ones I plan on making into comics.”
Frantz said that the first-ever Monty the Dinosaur book was actually presented to his daughter on her fourth birthday. His wife was impressed and encouraged him to see how far he could take the character, so he enlisted the help of artist Jean Franco to help bring the friendly dino to life. Almost two years exactly since his daughter’s fourth birthday, Monty is now being published by Action Lab Comics, and Frantz couldn’t be happier. “I’m satisfied with the success that I’ve already achieved,” he said. “It would be amazing to sell a million copies, but honestly, I just want to tell stories. It’s very personal to me, and I am already happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish.”
Those interested in reading Monty the Dinosaur should ask their local comic shops to carry the book. Readers can also search for the title online at actionlabcomics.com, or at comixology.com. Comic book fans living in or around Corbin can meet Frantz and pick up copies of his book at the Max Toys and Comics “Creator Spotlight” event on September 3. Frantz will also be appearing at the Cincinnati ComicCon event the weekend of September 9-11. That event will take place at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington.